Lest We Forget – Teaching Children the Importance of Remembrance Day

Poppy Poppy

Poppy, poppy, what do you say?

Wear me on Remembrance Day.

Poppy, poppy, what do you tell?

Many soldiers in battle fell.

Poppy, poppy what should we know?

That peace on earth should grow, grow, grow.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Remembrance Day.  Each year we wear our poppies, perhaps recite “In Flanders Fields” and observe a moment of silence on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.   As adults we understand the significance of November 11th and the importance in its commemoration; young children however may not fully comprehend the meaning of Remembrance Day.

Teaching children about this historically significant day is important and it can be approached in age appropriate manner. Here are a few ideas that we’ve gathered to help in educating children about Remembrance Day:

  • First and foremost, approach the subject with compassion, honest and pride because it is one of the most important days in our history
  • Start out simple and elaborate as your child grows and matures. With a toddler for example, you might start with making a poppy craft and talking about a poppy. As your child gets older, you can move on to talking about peace, and finally about war, sacrifice, and honouring those who have and continue to serve.
  • Avoid the use of words such as “fight” and “war” and focus on honoring the bravery and dedication of men and women who serve to ensure our freedom and safety
  • Ask children about what peace means to them
  • Talk about your family history if you have any friends or family members that served in the war or are currently enrolled in the military.  If possible, ask if they are willing to share stories with your children and answer questions
  • Wear a poppy and explain that we wear it symbolically to honor those who served because they were the flowers that grew in the battlefields
  • Attend a local Remembrance Day ceremony which gives children an opportunity to see veterans be take part first-hand in honoring their sacrifices
  • Read age-appropriate books on the subject and watch videos or documentaries that provide further information on the history and significance of the day

Remembrance Day is significant globally; it is important to teach children its importance and keep alive the memories of the sacrifices made by soldiers in conflict.  Lest We Forget

For a list of educational resources on Remembrance Day visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website